Garmin-Sharp pull out of Tour Mediterranean after 16 bikes are stolen
Garmin-Sharp were forced to withdraw from the Tour Mediterranean after 16 bikes were stolen from their race truck.
Last Updated: 09/02/13 7:31pm
Mechanics woke up on Saturday morning to discover that their set of Cervelo R5 bikes, 60 sets of wheels, tools and other equipment had been taken.
Garmin-Sharp sport director Johnny Weltz estimated the cost of the burglary at around 250,000 euros but said the bigger blow was to the team.
Andrew Talansky, whose time-trial bike was among the stolen goods, was only a minute off leader Lars Boom and primed to make a move up the field on the race's queen stage that finished at the summit of Mont Faron.
Euskaltel-Euskadi, Ag2r-La Mondiale and FDJ-Big Mat were staying in the same Novotel in Aix-en-Provence but were not targeted.
Other teams and riders offered Garmin a chance to borrow spare bikes but the team decided it was not worth the risk.
Weltz explained: "We did get the offer from other teams, but there is an issue with the pedals. Then you get a sore knee and that can cause other, bigger problems.
"Everyone was so stressed. The riders were super-motivated for today. It was just a huge shock. This was not a small-boy thing. It was a very organized crime.
"It appears that where we had the truck parked was a kind of 'dark spot' on the surveillance cameras. The police are taking it very seriously. The whole truck was cleaned out. This is obviously a job of professional thieves."